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Map of expedition against the rebels in Tempati


Map of expedition against the rebels in Tempati

Heneman, Johan Christoph van

Titel Leupe: Kaart van de Expeditie der Surinaamse Burger Volontairen teegen de rebelleerende Neeger slaaven in Tempati enz. in de maanden Maart en April 1757.

The Marrons were former enslaved people who had fled the plantations and formed new communities in the Surinamese interior. As their numbers swelled in the course of the 18th century, not least because they tended to raid plantations and then incorporate the slaves there into their own ranks, they became an increasing threat to the plantation system. In the 1760s, the colonial government hoped to improve the situation by making peace treaties with the Auka, Saramacca and Matawai. This hope was subsequently proven idle by the Boni Wars in the 1770s. The pursuit of the Marrons as well as the contacts with those groups the colonial government made peace with, did have the effect that increasingly large parts of the thusfar unexplored Surinamese interior were charted.

This map is unique because it shows the phase directly after one of the great slave uprisings, the rebellion which broke out at the end of February 1757 on six timber plantations situated on the Tempati Creek, one of the sources of the Commewijne. The around three hundred rebels, who had seized the weapons on the enterprises, grouped on the southernmost plantation Beerenburg, from where they virtually ruled the area for more than a month. The map shows the gradual advance of the soldiers, civilian volunteers and slaves sent from Paramaribo and elsewhere to quash the rebellion, moving southwards from the plantation l’Hermitage, which was recaptured from the rebels on 15 March. In the end, the troops were unable to defeat the rebels, and the uprising spelled the end of the plantations in Tempati. The rebels joined forces with the Auka and three years later when peace was declared were acknowledged to be free men.

Assuming the attribution of this map to Johan Christoph Heneman to be correct, the wealth of details reproduced seems to suggest that he had used an original made by one of the expedition members, perhaps Louis Nepveu. The scene shown underneath the explanation, giving the colonial troops the upper hand, is apparently not a true representation of the fighting in Tempati, though some of the Marrons’ usual battle tactics are depicted correctly. Each weapon has three handlers: one to fire, one to take over and one to remove the wounded or slain marksman.

North is below.

Scale-bars of 1200 Ord: steps / 40 chains of 66 Rhineland feet = [approximately 1 : 8,500].

Please contact Nationaal Archief for reuse and copyrights.

Sources and literature

Heijer, H. den, Grote Atlas van de West-Indische Compagnie = Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch West India Company, II, de nieuwe WIC 1674-1791 = the new WIC 1674-1791 (2012)